On Thursday, Oct. 29, there will be a power outage between 9 a.m. and noon across all of Bethel, Napakiak, and Oscarville. On Saturday, Oct. 31, all of Napakiak and large portions of Bethel will be without power between noon and 5 p.m. All of Napakiak, and some areas of Bethel, may regain power by 3 p.m. that day.
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative CEO Meera Kohler explained the Oct. 31 outage in an email to KYUK:
"On Saturday, October 31, 2020 from noon to 5:00 p.m., portions of the Bethel distribution system and all of Napakiak will be without power. Some areas will be out for a shorter time period, but all outages will begin at noon. Distribution Feeders 1, 2, 6, and 7 (description below) will be affected. All four feeders will be de-energized at noon, and it is anticipated that Feeders 6 and 7 will be re-energized by 3:00 p.m.
Feeder #1 - Most of City Subdivision, a portion of Ridgecrest Drive, portion of 3rd Avenue, portion of Main Street.
Feeder #2 - City Swimming Pool, Akiachak Avenue, portion of Mission Drive, BNC Apartments, Akakeek Street (1st Road Housing), Atsaq (2nd Road Housing), BNC Office Complex and AC Store area, Willow Street, and portions of 6th and 7th Avenue.
Feeder #6 - Yuut Learning Center Complex area, all of Tundra Ridge, all of Ptarmigan Street, High School and School Complex area, portion of Ridgecrest Drive from City Pumphouse to City Dump.
Feeder #7 - Airport area, Kasayuli Subdivision, Larson Subdivision, all of BIA Road, the village of Napakiak."
During the outages, AVEC will be installing new equipment to enable the Bethel power plant to pump more electricity to the grid.
“We are installing a new switchgear module, and that module will basically take all the power from the six generators that are in the power plant and send it out to the eight feeders that feed different portions of town,” said Bill Stamm, AVEC Vice President of Engineering.
That process is currently done inside the plant. The new equipment will be larger, and will be located outside of the plant to handle more electricity. The extra energy demand comes from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation expanding its hospital.
“This switchgear module was completely predicated on the timeline and needs of YKHC,” Stamm said.
Stamm said that the upgrade will mean that AVEC will not need to install similar equipment when Bethel’s two new subdivisions, Blue Sky and ONC, come online. And the upgrade should reduce the likelihood of future unplanned power outages.
AVEC hoped to complete the project earlier in the month when temperatures were warmer and the outages wouldn’t overlap with Halloween, but shipping delays held it up.
“Hopefully the weather holds out for us," Stamm said. "If temperatures really start to drop and we’re down below zero and those types of temperatures, we’ll have to hold off.”
If your power is not restored by 12 p.m. on Oct. 29, or by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, AVEC asks you to call them at 1-800-478-1818. AVEC will announce three additional outages over the next two weeks to complete the installation of the new equipment.
During the outages, KYUK will continue broadcasting on 640AM. We will not be able to broadcast over our 90.3FM, TV, or via internet stream during the outages.